Former Rajasthan DGP Dr Gyan Prakash Pilania remembers BL Joshi

Joshi passed away at AIIMS on Friday due to septic shock following an infection of the valves. He was 82.


Ashutosh Sharma

“Nearly three months after my friend, Banwari Lal Joshi got his second term as Governor of Uttar Pradesh, he put in his papers on moral grounds. This was expected of the man of integrity that he was. The former police officer, who served as governor of several states, never compromised on his principles. Our association begun in 1957. I had the privilege to work with him in Rajasthan police,” remembers former Rajasthan DGP Dr Gyan Prakash Pilania.

Joshi passed away at AIIMS on Friday due to septic shock following an infection of the valves. He was 82. He was admitted in the hospital about 20 days ago. “He died at the cardio critical care unit of AIIMS. He got his valves replaced around 10 years back. The valves had got infected because of which he was admitted. He died to septic shock,” a hospital source was quoted by a TOI report.

Being an honest police officer, Joshi suffered punishment postings many a times. Even after becoming Governor, he refused to succumb to political pressures and always upheld constitutional values and democratic traditions.

After he voluntarily resigned as Governor of UP in 2014, I once asked him ‘why don’t you write an autobiography? Joshi dismissed the idea with one liner: “How many secrets (do) you want me to reveal!”

Joshi walked the path of righteousness all through his life. He would draw his inspiration and energy to from the Gita. The following couplet of Kabir sums up his entire life:

So chaadar sur nar muni odhi, odhi ke maili kini chadariya,

das Kabir jatan kari odhi, jyon ki tyon dhar deeni chadariya!

(That exquisite tapestry worn by the celestials, by saints and by human beings alike. But they all invariably have defiled it (by digressing to sensory dispositions). Your humble devotee Kabir has worn it scrupulously and meticulously. And is returning it to you O’Lord unblemished and pure.)

Born on April 1, 1934, in the remote Choti Khatu village of Nagour district of Rajasthan, Joshi enjoyed a long association with Gandhi family and as a distinguished police officer worked in the security of former prime ministers Indira Gandhi and Lal Bahadur Shashri. During his illustrious career, he also occupied the post of First Secretary in the Indian High Commission in Pakistan, American Embassy in Washington and later the Indian High Commission in London. He also served as the Superintendent of Police with the Railways in Dungarpur-Sikar (Ajmer Division) and the Central Bureau of Investigation, CID (Intelligence wing) in the Indian Railways.

A 1957 batch IPS officer of Rajasthan cadre, Joshi had taken voluntary retirement in 1991. Eventually, he moved to United States in 1993 to work in the corporate as well as social sectors. On his return from US in 2000, he was appointed as a member of the Rajasthan State Human Rights Commission during the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government in Rajasthan. He continued working as member of the commission till he was made Lt Governor of Delhi in 2004. Joshi relinquished this responsibility on being appointed as Governor of Meghalaya in April 2007. In October 2007, he was appointed as Governor of Uttarakhand and sworn-in as Governor of Uttar Pradesh on 28 July 2009.

During his tenure as Uttar Pradesh Governor, Joshi hogged headlines for returning the very first ordinance sent by the Akhilesh government, seeking extension of term of Uttar Pradesh Lokayukta. The ordinance was sent back as the term of Lokayukta had already ended.

During the tenure of Mayawati government, Joshi did not clear the bill seeking to constitute a special force to guard memorials.

Asked about his residence in the Capital, the jinxed 33 Sham Nath Marg in New Delhi, after being sworn in as the 18th Lieutenant-Governor of Delhi, Joshi had given a terse reply to media: “I come from a poor background. I can live even in a slum cluster.”

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